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In other words our beliefs only required us to think a certain way right belief. This resulted in lives firmly established within the comforts and privileges of the dominant world view, and that were certainly no threat to the status quo. On the other hand, the role of the apprentice is to learn from the Master, to strive to imitate the Master, to slowly become more like the Master. This expanded function requires us to live a certain way gracious behavior. Our rather simplistic view has been that perhaps because Jesus took the trouble to teach these things--grace, forgiveness, care for the marginalized, justice, inclusion, love, etc.

Thankfully Gulley takes us a little deeper, and examines how we as the church might have come to this place of impotency. Gulley proposes that just like the religious of Jesus' day, we still tend to favour a rigid religiosity. He even suggests that this adherence to rules may have been a necessary step "in our moral and religious evolution". But like most phases, maybe it's one that we need to pass through and leave behind as we move to a more mature spirituality.

This is an idea worth meditating on. In considering this possibility, Gulley looks at this adherence to the rigid from both an individual and institutional perspective, and in doing so he's going to make a lot of folks uncomfortable.

If the church were Christian : rediscovering the values of Jesus (edition) | Open Library

This idea of "spiritual evolution" really resonates. As humanity continues to evolve, our faith should evolve. Because our view of God evolves.

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Note what I said and did not say. God does not change, but our view of God should grow with us. Of course, this will run smack into the cherished doctrines of those who have confused God's unchanging nature with our beliefs in that God.

Learning Wisdom for Witnessing from Jesus, Pt. 1 (Live)

I'm reminded of Seth Godin's fundamentalist test , but we don't need to star that again! Of course, the idea of spiritual evolution implies continuing revelation. If you believe, either implicitly or explicitly, that God no longer speaks, that we know all there is to know about God, and all that is left to do is argue over doctrine, you're going to hate this book.

Gulley points out that the solution to this "lethal mind-set" is not hard to figure out. When Jesus was asked for the crux of the matter, for the most important commandment, for the heart of the Gospel in characters or less, he was very clear.

Book Review: If the Church Were Christian — Rediscovering the Values of Jesus

And yet no split, schism, inquisition or church bazaar bun fight has ever come down to who isn't loving enough. It's always about who isn't believing correctly. Ironic, isn't it?

As always, you get my opinions, positive or negative. A free book doesn't change that. You can follow the rest of the Tour here.

Not available in stores. The largest group in American religious life may be the disillusioned—people who have been involved in the church, respect Jesus, but question what Christianity has become. In If the Church Were Christian Philip Gulley provides a profound picture of what the church could look like if it refocused on the priorities of Jesus.

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About The Author. Philip Gulley is a Quaker minister, writer, husband, and father.

Gulley lives with his wife and two sons in Indiana, and is a frequent speaker at churches, colleges, and retreat centers across the country